FREE The Battle With Grendel's Mother Essay

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By simply placing Grendel in a human relationship with his mother, ..

Grendel lives in a cave under a burning lake with his mother, a mute, beast-like creature who cares for and protects him. There are other "shadowy shapes" in the cave, but Grendel alone can speak. In Chapter 2, Grendel recalls an important moment: trapped in a tree, crying for his mother, Grendel encounters men for the first time. The most important thing about the encounter is that the men speak words that Grendel understands, although the men do not understand Grendel's words.

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In , Issei, like the rest of the Gremory Team, are surprised to see , accompanied by Le Fay and Kuroka, come to their house, which was set up by Azazel after Ophis claims that she wants to observe Issei. Later, Issei, Akeno, and Yuuto go to the Glasya-Labolas territory to take the promotion test to become Middle-Class Devils. While the group is resting after the test, they are ambushed by Cao Cao and who came to steal Ophis' powers. The battle ended with the Gremory and Vali Teams losing to Cao Cao and Ophis' powers stolen. Both teams were then attacked by a legion of Grim Reapers and . They eventually overcame the situation by having Issei use Rias' breasts to replenish Issei's magic and successfully force their enemy to retreat, until Shalba appeared with a kidnapped , forcefully activating Leonardo's Balance Breaker, which creates 13 gigantic monsters to destroy the Underworld, and kidnapped Ophis.

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There is a marked contrast in attitudes toward death between the various monsters and Beowulf and the thanes (warriors), especially Unferth. With this contrast, Gardner makes the point that personal death is insignificant to the hero if it brings a chance for immortality. For Grendel, the solipsist (one who believes nothing exists but the self), killing others means nothing. When Grendel himself faces even the slightest threat of physical harm, however, it is enough to send him wailing to his mother (Chapters 2, 12). Although Gardner embellishes the character of the dragon considerably, he does not include the scene from the original epic in which the dragon kills Beowulf. Instead, Beowulf lives to preach a gospel of death and rebirth: "The world will burn green, sperm build again. My promise. Time is the mind, the hand that makes (fingers on harpstrings, hero-swords, the acts, the eyes of queens). By that I kill you" (Chapter 12). In other words, it is through creation, imagination, and inspiration that one may kill evil and achieve immortality—even if heroic acts only live on through poetry and song.


just as the Gaets had been in face of Grendel and his mother.

Further, it is also possible to explain Grendel's fascination with Wealtheow by considering his separation from his mother. French feminists argue that male language is the language of desire. Further, they suggest that male language idealizes and fantasizes about the feminine. This idealization and fantasy is caused by the absence of the mother. The separation from the mother causes an emotional lack in the male child. That Grendel feels an emotional lack is clear as he contemplates his mother, and the separation between them; he says explicitly, "I am a lack." Further, Grendel idealizes and fantasizes about the Queen, Wealtheow. In his eyes, she is all beauty, and offers some hope for meaning in the world. His understanding of Wealtheow, however, is conditioned by the Shaper's songs, more male language. It is not the woman Wealtheow that Grendel wants, but rather the ideal created by the language of the Shaper. Grendel observes that the ultimate act of nihilism would be to kill the Queen. Yet he is unable to contemplate this until he raids the hall and pulls her legs apart. He decides to kill her because of "the ugly hole between her legs." His confrontation with her body destroys his notion of the ideal, but not entirely. Ultimately, he chooses not to kill her, in spite of her body and the sexuality that both fascinates him and repels him. And yet he still finds one of his two minds insisting, "she was beautiful."

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Grendel chooses to look for answers in these systems, ultimately rejecting all but the dragon's view. He clearly sees himself as a superior creature to his mother, primarily because he is a maker of words, someone who possesses language. He walks on two legs; she walks on all four. Yet care should be taken to distinguish Grendel's position on this from Gardner's. Gardner seems to suggests that the language of Grendel's is somehow primeval and pre-existent, outside the system of male language. Grendel states, "She'd forgotten all language long ago, or maybe had never known any. (How I myself learned to speak I can't remember; it was a long, long time ago.)" Grendel, trying to find meaning through masculine language, fails to recognize that his mother finds meaning in her own creation, even as he states, "I was, in her eyes, some meaning I could never know and might not care to know." Further, Grendel's mother's language is bound up in her body. Her response to Grendel's despair is to clasp him to her breast, offering nurture and sustenance.

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In the eighth chapter, Grendel relates how Hrothgar's nephew, Hrothulf, arrived at the mead-hall after the murder of his father. His resentful attitude and desire for power gives Grendel the opportunity to consider "the idea of violence" which grows in the young man. The following chapter features Grendel's encounter with a priest, which leads to several observations on the nature of religion. In the tenth chapter, Grendel feels tormented by boredom, and observes the death of the old poet Shaper. Meanwhile, his mother has become strangely protective of him and tries to prevent Grendel from leaving the lair.